WBO welterweight champion Terence "Bud" Crawford has all of the attributes of a special fighter.
One that probably isn't talked about nearly enough is his patience. He is willing to wait while in the ring.
The unbeaten three-division champion, who improved to 34-0 with his knockout victory Saturday night at the CHI Health Center, knew the uppercut would lead to the demise of challenger Jose Benavidez Jr. But the opportunity to unleash the decisive punch didn't present itself until the final minute of the bout.
Crawford feinted in attempt to bring Benavidez within range of his power shot. But whenever he did, the challenger would pull back. "Now is not the time," the champion told himself and stuck to his plan.
"It was coming," he said. "It was just a matter of time. He slowed down tremendously. He was tired."
Crawford waited all night to throw his right uppercut. He set it up with a short right jab and a straight left hand, then blasted the jaw of the previously unbeaten challenger to topple him over on the canvas.
The champ then jogged to the nearest neutral corner and calmly rested his elbows upon the top rope.
"Once he slowed down, I'd seen that I can catch him with it," he said. "And that's when I threw it."
It was the signature punch of Crawford's 12th consecutive win in a world title fight. He followed it up with a barrage of shots that overwhelmed Benavidez along the ropes, forcing the fight to be stopped.
The decisive finish had Crawford's hall-of-fame promoter, Bob Arum of Top Rank, raving about his star fighter at ringside after the bout. He said the desire to go for the late KO makes Crawford truly special.
"Look at what we have with other fighters today," he said. "That is not the mindset most of them have.
"That's the kind of person he is. He's a showman. He wants to close the show. He wants to make a statement. We know he's a brilliant fighter. But the fact that he's so crowd-pleasing makes him special."
Arum said people will remember that as Crawford eventually moves into boxing's pay-per-view realm.
"They'll want to see him fight because he's so entertaining," he said.
Arum went on to compare the way Crawford fights to that of a former pound-for-pound star.
"Look at Floyd Mayweather. Tremendous fighter," Arum said. "Ask yourself seriously, with Mayweather going into the 12th round of this fight, would he have done anything like that or tried to? No."
Crawford put himself in position to knock out Benavidez by investing in body work throughout the night. Fighting almost exclusive from a southpaw stance, he continually dug into the rib cage with power shots.
"That takes something out of you every time," he said. "I felt like that's what slowed him down. You could tell when he was shaking his head every time I touched him. ... I knew that was going to take its toll later in the fight."
Crawford kept his cool throughout the fight, even after a week full of hostility that peaked with a confrontation between he and Benavidez at Friday's weigh-in. The champion said he wasn't going to be sidetracked by any of the negativity that went on before the bout. And he was happy with the outcome.
"It feels so good to shut somebody up who's been talking for so long," he said. "Now, I'm at ease."
Crawford, now 2-0 as a welterweight, will have the rest of this year off. He said there are plans for him to fight three times in 2019. Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti said the first would come in the spring.
The WBO champion reiterated his goal to take on all of the other titleholders at 147 pounds.
"I want all of them," Crawford said. "I've been saying it."
IBF titlist Errol Spence, injured WBA super champ Keith Thurman and WBC beltholder Shawn Porter all perform under the guidance of manager Al Haymon, whose fighters compete primarily on Showtime and Fox. Meanwhile, Crawford's deal with Top Rank calls for him to fight exclusively on the ESPN platforms.
Arum said, in his mind, that doesn't stand in the way of matching Crawford up with Haymon's fighters, although he doesn't seem too interested in his champion facing Porter or former titlist Danny Garcia. He feels he has a pair of Eastern European fighters that are better than both of those other welterweights.
"I would bet any amount of money that (Alexander) Besputin and (Egidijus) Kavaliauskas can beat these guys," said Arum, who promotes both. "Guys like Porter, guys like Garcia, they're not elite fighters."
Kavaliauskas, a 20-0 fighter from Lithuania, is probably the safest bet to be Crawford's next opponent, if he can get through a title eliminator tentatively scheduled to take place in Oklahoma City in November.
Spence, though, is the guy most of the boxing world wants to see him up against. The former U.S. Olympian is a talented, undefeated welterweight with seemingly unlimited potential and star power.
Arum said he's on board for a Crawford-Spence unification bout, if the two sides can strike a deal.
"All the other guys I discard. They're not in the same league," Arum said. "Spence may be in the same league. I would love to make the Spence fight. You hear me now. I'm ready to make that fight next. I'm ready to make it on very fair terms, where no network or no fighter has an advantage - just to do that fight. We're prepared to sit down and get that fight done. But I can't force the other people into doing it.
"Kavaliauskas is fighting an elimination. But would I prefer him to fight a Spence? Yeah."
The patience that Crawford shows in the ring may be tested outside of it while he waits to hear the details of his next title bout. He wants to fight the best out there, but understands this is a business.
"It gets frustrating at times because I feel like I don't get the credit that I deserve," he said. "But at the same time, it's out of my hands. I can't do nothing about it but continue to do what I do inside the ring.
"I'm willing to fight any and everybody there is to fight. I don't make the fights. I fight them."